DUP MP Sammy Wilson has questioned whether the Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney should be allowed to use Parliament Buildings at Stormont to “insult the British prime minister”.
Mr Wilson accused Mr Coveney of showing “disrespect” to the UK during a press conference held at Stormont on Friday.
“The statements of the British prime minister yesterday in the House of Commons were very unhelpful to this process,” Mr Coveney said following a meeting with newly appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Julian Smith on Friday.
“He (Boris Johnson) seems to have made a deliberate decision to set Britain on a collision course with the European Union and with Ireland in relation to the Brexit negotiations, and I think only he can answer the question as to why he is doing that,” Mr Coveney dded.
Following those comments, Mr Wilson questioned whether Mr Coveney should be allowed to use Parliament Buildings at Stormont for press conferences.
“He insults the British prime minister from a British parliament – because that is what Stormont is, a British parliament.”
He continued: “I do think it’s got to be asked – how come an outsider got permission to use Parliament Buildings for a press conference?
“There are protocols for using it. He is not a member of the Assembly. He is not a member of a Northern Ireland political party. You have to ask the question – who gave him permission?
“Does this mean any outsider can simply walk in and use Parliament Buildings for a press conference?
“If any community group or voluntary organisation in Northern Ireland wanted to use it they would have to ask for permission. Well, Coveney is no different from any of those. He is a foreigner, basically, and he has no right to have automatic access to Stormont.”
He added: “The foreign ministers of any other country certainly couldn’t waltz in and use it. Who gave him permission to use Parliament Buildings? Would they be given permission? I don’t know but they would certainly need to request permission. It certainly needs to be investigated.”
Mr Wilson added: “If courtesies are going to be disrespected, then the matter will have to be carefully looked at.”
The News Letter has written to the Department of Foreign Affairs to request a response to Mr Wilson’s comments.